As we move into June, we’re coming up on Father’s Day. And since a lot of dads are into cars—or at least own one—here are some gift ideas. Whether he’s a hands-on mechanical type, a dog lover, or just a driver who uses his car to get from point A to point B, we’ve got something for him here.
Is your dad a technical guy, who wants to diagnose and fix his own car problems? If so, an OBD2 scanner is a key piece of equipment that should be in his automotive toolkit.
These days, with modern cars, the only way to know exactly why a dash light is lit up, and what it’s trying to tell you, is with a scanner that can identify the fault code that’s causing it. You used to have to take it to a dealer or a mechanic to have these faults read, but now you can do it at home, very simply, with an OBD2 scanner. (OBD stands for ‘onboard diagnostic’).
There are two primary types of OBD2 scanners, and they’re both relatively inexpensive. The simpler type, which connects via bluetooth to your smartphone, is just a small piece of plastic that plugs into your car’s OBD port (which is almost always located very near your steering wheel, usually somewhere under the dash or in the driver’s footwell area).
The other type does not rely on a smartphone; it has its own small screen, and is usually a device with a cord and a plug that connects to the OBD port.
USB battery starter
Remember when you used to have to find someone with jumper cables, if you left your lights on and found your car battery too depleted to start your car?
Good news—the days of jumper cables and having to ask a total stranger for help (or call and wait for roadside assistance) are over. Now, all you need is a tiny USB battery starter. Keep it charged (it will hold a charge for months) and in your trunk or glove compartment, and if you find your battery drained you can just clip it do your battery and start your car right up! You can find a good one for about $50-75. We like the TOPVISION battery starter.
For the dog-loving dad
What if your dad is not only a car lover, but a dog lover? Dogs can be tough on car upholstery, and a backseat can be a little slippery for them, too. Which is why a dog hammock might be a perfect gift. It attaches to the backseat headrests, and also the front seat headrests, to create an actual hammock that rests on the backseat, but protects it. And also prevents furry passengers from falling into the footwell, or getting flung forward between the front seats, during sudden stops.
California Car Duster
The California Car Duster has been around for decades, and that’s because it’s a simple and really effective tool for keeping a car clean in between washes.
These dusters started out being sold at car shows, where most vintage and exotic show car owners use them to keep the dust off their cars during the events. They actually work better the dirtier they get: their ‘magnetism’ for dust increases with use.
I know for sure that this one is dad-approved, because my own dad is the one who introduced me to them years ago—and we’ve both used them ever since.
Bluetooth tire pressure monitoring system
A lot of new cars have tire pressure monitoring systems. They’re a great way to tell if a tire is losing pressure, so you can ideally catch a puncture or leak before it leaves you (or the driver on your gift list) stranded. And now there’s a solution for cars that don’t have that feature: FOBO Tire. It installs in seconds, and monitors tire pressure using Bluetooth, alerting the driver via smartphone app if there’s a problem with any of their tires.
Whichever gift is right for your dad, remember that time with you is probably the one he values most. So going for a drive, or washing a car, or working on one together are also great ways to spend Father’s Day!